Your Florida Daily: Wild Florida suspends airboat rides after crash, manatee deaths declining

Plus: The Florida ranch run by the Mormon church

A picture of one of the Wild Florida airboats that crashed in Kenansville. The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating. (U.S. Coast Guard)

Wild Florida said it has suspended all of its airboat rides after two boats collided at the animal park.

The crash sent nearly a dozen people to the hospital.

Investigators said the crash happened while the Wild Florida boats were doing routine tours.

Clint Adams said he has spent his entire life around airboats on Cypress Lake.

“It’s actually more common than people think. There are a lot of blind corners out here. You get in the tall grass and you can’t see what’s around the other side,” Adams said.

Officials said in total 30 people were on those boats and everyone is expected to survive.

Wild Florida also said it will be conducting its own internal investigation.

So far, the U.S. Coast Guard has not yet said what exactly caused those two boats to crash.

Nichole Maks mugshot (Volusia County Sheriff's Office)

A Volusia County woman suspected of killing her roommate doused herself in soda in an attempt to erase possible evidence on her body, according to police.

According to an arrest affidavit, Nichole Maks, 35, poured diet Mountain Dew all over her body when police told her they were going to collect her DNA as part of the investigation.

Daytona Beach police said this started July 1 when someone reported a fire at a home.

Inside, authorities say they found Michael Cerasoli, 79, dead on the floor with blunt force trauma to his head and stab wounds.

When officers found his roommate, Maks, they said she was carrying a knife and a hammer with blood on the side of her leg.

Maks is pleading not guilty and is being held in the Volusia County jail without bond.

Manatees (Copyright 2023 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

A new report shows the push to save Florida’s manatees may be paying off as experts see a drop in manatee deaths since last year.

According to data from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 403 manatees have died this year.

Last year at this time that number was 657.

While most of the deaths are from poor water quality or food resources, there have been 65 manatee deaths caused by boat strikes which are ahead of last year’s pace.

Random Florida Fact

About 300,000 acres of undeveloped farmland between Orange, Osceola and Brevard counties are owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Longtime Floridians call it the Mormon ranch but its true name is Deseret Ranches.

It’s considered to be one of the most productive cow-calf ranches in the U.S.

It’s 10 times larger than Walt Disney World and operates like a for-profit business — paying property and income taxes.

The Mormon church believes the ranch will preserve its assets while being a resource for its people in times of need.

About the Author:

Katrina Scales is a producer for the News 6+ Takeover at 3:30 p.m. She also writes and voices the podcast Your Florida Daily. Katrina was born and raised in Brevard County and started her journalism career in radio before joining News 6 in June 2021.